In IAAF’s list drawn up by the World Federation each month reporting the banned athletes, the name of the Chinese champion, world record holder, Liu Hong, stands out.
The race walker, world record on 20km, won the title in the Italian capital with a time of 1h25’59” but, after the race, she was forced to a one-month stop, from 13th June to 13th July.
Reading the document, it can be inferred that the suspension was caused by a test carried out after the World Team Race Walking Championships on the 7th of May: “In competition test, ‘IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships’, Rome, ITA“.
The reason of the disqualification is currently unknown, we should wait for the Federation to clarify the situation nevertheless, she will likely lose the title awarded in Rome. Media says the banned substance is the higenamine, which brings to a reduced sanction.
On the contrary, Hong will not have any problem in taking part in Olympic Games since her disqualification will expire before that: she comes up as a favourite, after the bronze medal achieved in London 2012.
Her trainer, Sandro Damilano, commented “I know she had taken a medicine for tonsillitis, an extract from a Chinese plant that contains a vasodilator. Honestly, I didn’t know anything about this disqualification: I thought, the case has been solved by sending a sample with the purpose to make it analyse”.
Photo Chiara Montesano/trackarena.com